November was all about energy, which is pretty much always the case in a 6th grade classroom. This time our energy was focused on trying to understand where we find energy and how to use it in ways that are beneficial to the environment. I also introduced the idea of ordinary versus extraordinary work, and they are fired up to be on the extraordinary path to college.
The students learned how to create five paragraph essays with three concrete reasons supporting their main argument. Their essays were about whether or not our country should invest more in renewable resources, and they did a wonderful job expressing their ideas. We will continue to work on our writing skills while integrating scientific inquiry by writing one essay each month. Be ready for some lengthier, well-thought out pen pal letters now that they are beginning to comprehend the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary letter! You can check out a few of their energy essays below!
Gearing up for Thanksgiving, we learned about everyone’s favorite form of energy: chemical. Of course, this involved doing a food lab. To prepare for a break full of time with family and delicious home cooked meals, we tested starch levels of traditional Thanksgiving foods using iodine. Before we began the lab, we put on our medical gloves, and one student exclaimed, “I feel like a real doctor! This is SO cool.” As a science teacher, I’m used to having my subject area overlooked while students focus on the tested areas of math and language arts. It is fascinating to observe their reactions to the simplest of tools.
We will continue to discuss energy throughout December with a particular focus on alternative energy. If you have any background or passion for alternative energy, be sure to include your thoughts and ask students their own opinions on this matter in your upcoming letters!
Sample Essays (click to enlarge):